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Resident Evil

Score: 98%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror/ Classic/Retro/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Resident Evil is a remake of a remake, with a very unhelpful title. Seriously, not even an "HD" or a "Remastered" subtitle follows this game around to tell you what it actually is. But Resident Evil is a remake of the Resident Evil remake that made its way onto the Gamecube in 2002. This game was remaking the original 1996 version of the game. It introduced a lot of new content, improved graphics, and gameplay features compared to the original. Today, Resident Evil gives you improved graphics, a widescreen aspect ratio, and some improved controls as well.

The look of the game is not dramatically different from the 2002 game, but it is improved. The look is crisper and more detailed. It also takes advantage of the power of current gen systems in the dynamic lighting and shadow effects it often shows off. There’s nothing worse than jumping at the sight of your own shadow, and Resident Evil pulls this on you quite often, to perfection.

There are two options for display: original 4:3 aspect ratio or a modern 16:9. A new 16:9 aspect ratio is achieved with the used of a camera that follows you. This is an interesting choice, as the camera will simply follow you to parts of the screen that are hidden in the original 4:3 view. It's interesting, because it seems like it should be the other way around. Likely this choice was made to be truer to the original game's feel when you are in 4:3 display (there was no scrolling in the game back then when the only option was in fact 4:3).

In this PC version of the game, if there is a difference in the graphics compared to console versions, it is not enough to be noticeable. This is probably because of the type of remaster this game is. The real deal with these remastered graphics is that they are made to be reminiscent of the original game. There’s a crisper new look to them and they do fill out a 16:9 screen, but they still have a kind of filter applied over them to blur out some detail. Think filters from Photoshop. The character models including Jill, Chris, Barry, Wesker, everyone else on Alpha team and, of course, the monsters and zombies have gotten a major overhaul in detail and animation quality. There’s not much tweaking you can do between consoles and PC versions of this game. At least, no graphics tweaking has been made available for PC owners of this game. This is a bit of letdown for people with low level rigs, or shamefully old ones like mine. I mean, this really feels like a game you should be able to run on an underpowered PC. I assume that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye, even though we're essentially looking at a game with static camera angles and fixed backgrounds. Shadows, animated objects, and other effects are likely taking a secret toll on your processor. Alas, pay close attention to the minimum requirements on this game if you plan on enjoying your time with it.

Voices and background music sound suitably crisp and clear as well. We also get the advantage of 5.1 surround sound support in this new version. You might be disappointed, however, if you are a long time fan. The script was long ago updated and revised, so corny and cheesy lines like the infamous "Jill Sandwich" line that Barry once uttered are now gone. I had so much fun making fun of the badly translated, b-movie original dialogue that I at least wish there was an original script option that I could turn on. Oh well. It’s not exactly Shakespeare now either with silly lines like "Barry, I didn’t mean to get you that excited," so there is at least a hint of what it originally was.

I should also mention that costume unlocks, per the tradition of the original game, are also available. You can also select the BSAA uniforms that were seen in Resident Evil 5 without having to beat the game or do any other fancy tricks.


Funny, I’ve written before about characters in Resident Evil games having crappy jobs. The game that started it all is no exception. I mean, your employer drops you into the site where the last team went missing with merely a handgun and a knife, and in Chris’s case, not even enough pockets. And this is one thing that people never tell you about dealing with a mansion full of evil, zombie producing viruses and genetically engineered monsters: you always want more pockets. S.T.A.R.S. better have some sweet hazard pay.

The draw of Resident Evil wasn’t elaborate story. Rather, it was about suspense, strategy, and unease. The basic story is that you’re a member of the the Alpha team of S.T.A.R.S. response team of Raccoon City. You’ve been sent to investigate the disappearance of Bravo team, and you find their helicopter crashed outside a large mansion. Your team gets pushed into the mansion by a pack of dogs that seem to be running around without parts of their skin. Strange, but still not that crazy. That’s it for any major sort of story for a long time. In the mansion, however, things start to turn bizarre. The dead walk the halls as zombies. The mansion is riddled with traps and eerie artwork. Go deeper, and the mansion’s secrets become far more gruesome and horrifying.

All the while, you are often left alone. Start as Jill Valentine, and you’ll be on again, off again partners with Barry. Start with Chris Redfield and you’ll see Wesker and another person a few times. But mostly, you are alone - trapped with creepy music or uneasy silence of the mansion’s various rooms.

And it's still worth noting that even after all these years, it's still kind of creeps me out playing this game in dark. The tension of opening an unfamiliar door. Those crows just showing up when you thought it was safe. Your own footsteps startling you when you’re trying to listen for danger. And in comparison, the calming, but still eerie sound of the safe room music. To top it off, lines like "Fight your fears and survive" and "In the darkness lies your fears" will display when you load into a safe room. Sure, these lines are hardly the creepiest things that happen in the game, but since you're given so little else as far as direction in the game, it stands out and lingers in your mind as you step out into the mansion again.

Though you will be doing a lot of shooting with pistols, shotguns, and various other firearms, this is not a run and gun game. There’s a lot of strategy involved in this game, which is surprising if you take a first glance at the gameplay trailer. Should you shoot this zombie? Or perhaps the room is big enough for you to simply avoid it every time you go through, saving precious ammo. Should you take the chance of going through a long, dangerous melee fight? Should you take a restorative item with you, or save room for keys and other items you might encounter? You will run into ammo problems early on if you simply decide to mow down every enemy in your path without thinking. And to take it further, Resident Evil does not allow you commit to an all-out weaponry fight. The name of the game here is shoot, run, shoot. Fights are slow, and drawn out because you are required to plant your feet every time you use a weapon.


It can be argued that even though there are 3 difficulty settings for Resident Evil, there are also two more sublevels. Chris starts the game with only 6 inventory slots. Jill starts with 8. Chris has to find keys for several of the mansion’s rooms, which also take up an inventory slot. Jill gets to carry a lockpick to open those doors, which again doesn’t take a precious inventory slot. Jill even gets a helping hand from Barry in the case of one certain trap room, which ultimately means she doesn’t have to schlep around a certain item that Chris does in order to survive the same room. In the end, you could argue that the difference is made up by the fact that Chris can take more hits, and in theory doesn’t have to carry as many healing items. Still, in a game that is very much about inventory management, it can mean the difference between life and death if you don’t have to backtrack halfway across the mansion through hordes of monsters to get what you need.

But overall, the difficulty for Resident Evil is pretty high, even at its lowest setting. This is a old school game without autosaves; It’s a game where you have to plan out your next several moves, and having previous knowledge of what will happen in the game’s later events will help you dearly. It’s a game where you have to take a gamble on using your limited amount of saves (yes, limited) or taking the chance that you can survive through a few more rooms before saving. It's also pretty old school in the way it often cuts off as many paths that it opens as you progress. In one place, a doorknob actually breaks, causing you to have to take a long path around when you used to have a shortcut. Fair? Convenient? No. But it’s very authentic to its roots.

This remake (a opposed to the 1996 original) does at least have the added advantage of defensive items. These are single use items such as daggers that don’t take up inventory slots and that will allow you to get out of a grapple and take down the enemy at the same time. Though it’s not a complete game changer, it does get you out of some tight spots you would not otherwise be able to get out of, and it might prevent you from having to restart just that one extra time.

Game Mechanics:

While I have some nostalgia for the original controls, I'm still glad that the new "Alternate" controls are here. With this remake, I am amazed at my past self for being so good at them. You see, the original controls were often described as "tank" controls. If you wanted the character to move forward, you always press up on the directional pad - always. If you wanted to move to the foreground and your character is facing toward the foreground, then you’d press up, not down as newer game controls have you accustomed to. A newcomer to the game can often be seen spinning endlessly in place, attempting to get the hang of it.

Since the Alternate controls allow you to play the game a little more fluidly and quickly, it might be argued that it makes the game easier. I just think it makes the game less frustrating, and more accessible. There is something lost, however, when you never have to utilize the Quick Turn feature to escape an encounter; You just press the direction you want to go and you’ll run without that Quick Turn delay. It does feel like a slightly different game, and you can tell in some instances that the original game’s controls helped set up some of the scares. For example, there is a hall where you walk in and find that a zombie is shambling up the stairs slowly. This is fine, as you are protected by a railing. As you make your way around the railing to dispatch the zombie, you run into a second zombie who comes from a hidden area in the foreground. This would be where you would inevitably use a Quick Turn, remember which direction you’re now facing, then press up to get away if you didn’t have the proper weapons to kill zombie #2 right away. With the Alternate controls, you simply press up and you’re out of there. It’s a lot less to think about, and a lot less tension. Of course, you can simply select Original controls if you want to experience this in the way long time Resident Evil fans always have.

I would recommend using an Xbox controller to play this game, but the keyboard controls aren’t completely inaccessible. This is, after all, not actually a run and gun game. So while the keyboard and mouse combo may feel a bit clunky at first, the game gives you enough room to get used to them before things get intense. Still, things like "aim" with the mouse are a bit misleading on this game. Holding the aim button on the mouse merely puts your character in aim mode. To actually aim up or down, you’ll need to press a directional button on the keyboard - clunky, but not impossible.

Other than the directional control options, Resident Evil performs quite smoothly and does justice to the polish of the original game and its remakes. Capcom games may have notoriously high learning curves, but they are designed well. The challenges are truly challenges, and you can usually only blame yourself, not the game design, for not becoming better at their games. There are so many little tricks you learn along the way, such as learning to utilize the auto-aim of your character to determine if you are close enough to shoot at an off screen enemy; you really feel like you've mastered the game after struggling in the beginning. Alright, sometimes you can blame the game a little, as the fixed camera angles still make the game challenging, even after a long time spent in it.

Resident Evil does what a remake should do. It keeps the spirit of the original while making the graphics cleaner and updating clunky or frustrating controls. Resident Evil is a welcome remake for the current gen, and a great game to experience again (or for the first time) since it is often hailed as the game that started the survival horror genre. We can only hope that later games in the series are remade with such care. Honestly, I didn't even realize how much I wanted to play this game again until I started this review; Since I am a huge fan, that should tell you something. If you have enjoyed any of the later Resident Evil games, I highly recommend you pick up this remake (of a remake, yes) and see where it all started.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows® 7 SP1 / Windows® 8.1, CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or AMD Athlon™ X2 2.8 GHz, Memory: 2 GB RAM, Hard Drive: 20 GB available space, Display: 1024×768, Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX260 or ATI Radeon HD 6790, Sound Card: DirectSound Support (DirectX® 9.0c), DirectX®: DirectX® 9.0c, Input Device: Mouse / Keyboard (Recommended: Xbox 360® Controller for Windows®), Broadband internet connection required to access Steam

Test System:

Win7 64bit, 8 GB, Intel Core2 Duo CPU E7500 2.93 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460

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